There’s usually nothing funny about a hospital. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of sick folks there. But I did see something during my trip up to UNC Hospital at Chapel Hill last week that did make me smile.
I had carried my uncle up to Chapel Hill to see my aunt who was a patient there. Driving up there in the Raleigh traffic is never fun. (You know the rules. If you can, don’t leave to go up there until after rush hour in the morning, and try to get out of there by 4 PM to avoid the afternoon moving parking lot.)
Once we got to the hospital, we still had to locate Aunt Senie’s room. Finding it at UNC Hospital is no easy task. (Hint, if you get on the wrong elevator, it might take awhile.) And, being men, my uncle and I were not going to ask directions. But, eventually, we did end up at the information desk, and got directions to the room.
After getting up to the room, I visited with Aunt Senie. My aunt has had a difficult time, but is determined, and will make it through. After awhile, I left and went downstairs to get something to eat and give them some time to visit with each other. While walking back to the elevator, I noticed a bulletin board around the corner from Aunt Senie’s room. The bulletin board headline was “Funny Medical Terms.” And they were funny. They may not be accurate, but they are funny. Here are a few of them.
Bacteria – Back door to cafeteria
Enema – Not a friend
Fibula – A small lie
Dilate – To live long
Nitrates – Cheaper than day rates
Terminal illness –Getting sick at the airport
Seizure – A Roman emperor
Labor pain – Getting hurt at work
Benign – What you be after you be eight
Pelvis – A cousin of Elvis
Medical staff – A doctor’s cane
Varicose – Near by
Morbid – A higher offer
Cauterize – Made eye contact with her
Urine – Opposite of “You’re out”
Vein – Conceited
I was still laughing to myself on my way down to the cafeteria. “Maybe these UNC folks aren’t so bad after all,” I thought. “Aunt Senie’s nurses seem so nice, and even the guy who helped direct me back to the lobby after I got on the wrong elevator was real friendly.” This was despite the fact I was wearing one of my ECU ball caps. Maybe I was wrong about UNC being the Evil Empire, and Chapel Hill being the Death Star. (A “Star Wars” reference) But then I picked up a copy of “The Daily Tar Heel,” the UNC campus newspaper, to read while eating lunch.
Of course, the cover page was all about the UNC Tar Heel basketball team and the Final Four. (This was before last Monday night.) But inside the paper, the news was typical of what you would expect from Chapel Hill. There were several articles, editorials, and letters to the editor decrying the recent passing of House Bill 2 by the North Carolina legislature. That’s the law passed to overturn Charlotte’s LGBT non-discrimination ordinance passed in February. LGBT are letters used by individuals having nontraditional male/female identities and sexuality, and their supporters. Of course, nowhere in the “Daily Tar Heel” was anything written supporting House Bill 2, or explaining it from its proponent’s point of view. UNC is still UNC. (And yes, I’m sure you’ll find out it was about the same in the ECU campus newspaper. But it is part of the UNC system.)
All those letters in the news, like LGBT, remind me of one last funny medical term I saw on the bulletin board at the hospital. Do you know what a “bowel” is? It’s a letter like a, e, i, o, and u. You might as well smile. Your elementary school English teacher would.
Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at [email protected]